My Alma Mater, Concordia University has incorporated servant leadership into its curriculum, under the slogan "Preparing servant leaders for church and world." Concordia students are required to take a servant leadership practicum in which they perform a 60 hour service project.
Jesus taught in the Gospel of Mark, "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Mark 10:42-45)
Putting other's needs before yourself is the essence of effective leadership. It's the essence of good salesmanship and customer service, and it's the essence of effective diplomacy. In other words, treating others the way you yourself would like to be treated, not money, makes the whole world go around. It opens doors and gets things done.
"The Golden Rule" is actually something Jesus Himself taught- "Do to others as you would have them do to you." Luke 6:31 Keep that, along with Matthew 5:44 "Love your enemies" in mind as you read our passage for this week-
Imitating Christ's Humility1If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6Who, being in very nature[a] God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
The Serendipity Group Study Bible asks "How does this passage challenge the Madison Avenue advertising image of success?"
Good question. I am also reminded of the old adage? Do you love things and use people? Or use things and love people?
You see, here's Jesus- omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, all things were made through Him, and by Him, and yet He gives it all up to be with you, and what's more, He gives it all up and even dies for you. That's sacrifice, that's love.
Here's Jesus, humble, willing to do the dirty jobs, like Mike Rowe on the Discovery channel- doing what needs to get done to make life possible for the rest of us. Compare Him to Satan, AKA Lucifer (light-barer.) Lucifer was created as an archangel in charge of praise and worship. But old Lucy, decided he deserved the glory for himself.
Check out this great passage from Isaiah 14-
12What a comedown this, O Babylon!
Daystar! Son of Dawn!
Flat on your face in the underworld mud,
you, famous for flattening nations!
13-14You said to yourself,
"I'll climb to heaven.
I'll set my throne
over the stars of God.
I'll run the assembly of angels
that meets on sacred Mount Zaphon.
I'll climb to the top of the clouds.
I'll take over as King of the Universe!"
15-17But you didn't make it, did you?
Instead of climbing up, you came down—
Down with the underground dead,
down to the abyss of the Pit.
People will stare and muse:
"Can this be the one
Who terrorized earth and its kingdoms,
turned earth to a moonscape,
Wasted its cities,
shut up his prisoners to a living death?"
Sucks to be him. That's what you get for being selfish and conceited.
also notice that because Jesus humbled Himself, God the Father exalted Him. Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare? Jesus tells us in Matthew 20:16, that "the last will be first, and the first will be last." If we put others before ourselves, in the long run it will pay off. People love to be with people who are kind and considerate toward them. Having a servant heart is a great way to win friends and influence people.